In January 1905, government troops massacred protesters in St Petersburg .  Unrest soon spread across the Russian Empire in what came to be known as the Revolution of 1905 .  Georgia was one of the regions particularly affected.  In February, Stalin was in Baku when ethnic violence broke out between Armenians and Azeris ; at least 2,000 were killed.  Stalin publicly lambasted the "pogroms against Jews and Armenians" as being part of Tsar Nicholas II 's attempts to "buttress his despicable throne".  He formed a Bolshevik Battle Squad which he used to try and keep Baku's warring ethnic factions apart, also using the unrest to steal printing equipment.  Amid the growing violence throughout Georgia, Stalin formed further Battle Squads, with the Mensheviks doing the same.  Stalin's Squads disarmed local police and troops,  raided government arsenals,  and raised funds through protection rackets on large local businesses and mines.  They launched attacks on the government's Cossack troops and pro-Tsarist Black Hundreds ,  co-ordinating some of their operations with the Menshevik militia.